Friday, August 27, 2010

Spicy Cilantro Baked Lemon Tofu Sticks

Earlier this week, I was having a discussion with my co-worker about vegetarianism and my marriage. See, he feels that poor JJ must be suffering miserably in a vegetarian home. This brought up two major issues with me. First, he automatically assumed JJ doesn't like tofu, and that how could anyone possibly be satiated by tofu in a meal. Second, he inferred that I am the only one who can cook, and what I put on the table is the only option. See, JJ is fully capable of purchasing some chicken or a steak, bringing it home, cooking it, and eating it without my assistance.  
But he doesn't.

I see two possible reasons for this. First, he doesn't really mind eating tofu, or any of the other dinners I prepare. Second, he's too busy (read: lazy, he was off the better part of the summer and made no effort to cook meat). But I think it's secret option three: a mixture of both. He's too lazy to fend for himself, he doesn't mind tofu when it's prepared to his liking, AND he's appreciative of his wife who slaves over a hot stove preparing dinner for us each night, and would not dream of insulting her culinary masterpieces. What? It could be true... 

JJ really has come a long way with tofu. I no longer only prepare it for myself and automatically make him chicken. Instead, I give him the option, and for the past few months he's chosen tofu. Another ingredient he's come a long way with is cilantro. I think credit should be split here between Chipotle and myself. He didn't mind a pinch here and there in salsas and as a garnish on Mexican dishes, but he can't dictate how much cilantro goes in his beloved Chipotle Corn Salsa. So slowly but surely, he's built up his cilantro love (ok, tolerance) to where he actually enjoyed this cilantro-marinated and then crusted tofu. 
This marinade and resulting crust on the tofu was flavorful and spicy, bright and fresh. I definitely would double or triple this in the future, and keep the leftovers in the fridge for topping big summer salads for a no-cook meal. 

Oh, and I did bring in some tofu for Mr. Coworker to try, and he loved it. 
This is what a victory is in my life! 

VBS Tips and Trades:
-If you haven't planned ahead and frozen the tofu overnight, it's no problem to just press it once and then marinade and cook. My husband actually told me he likes the one-press preparation better than the press, freeze, press method.
-This recipe can be made with other herbs, if you're not on Team Cilantro. Or, for less cilantro bite, try using half flat leaf parsley, half cilantro.
-I like to buy extra firm tofu cakes, they stand up best to pressing, cutting, marinading and tossing, but firm will work as well, just be careful! 

Spicy Cilantro Baked Lemon Tofu Sticks
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

1 extra firm tofu cake
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 c. packed cilantro
1 scallion stalk, chopped
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Press tofu cake for 10 minutes, drain water.
Place in a small freezer safe bag, freeze overnight.
Thaw (either in the fridge for 8 hours or in the microwave on defrost for 2 minutes) and press again for another 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400*
Add all marinade ingredients to a blender, puree until smooth.
Add water 1 tbsp. at a time to thin, if necessary.
Slice tofu cake into matchsticks, place in a bowl and pour in marinade.
Set aside for 10 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick spray.
Lay tofu pieces on foil, drizzle with remaining marinade.
Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes.
Remove and eat immediately or chill and eat cool.


Pure Mama said...

Well, I think your dish looks fabulous!

We are also a 'mixed' home. I am mostly vegan, sometimes vegetarian and my husband is 100% carnivore!

He doesn't cook, happily eats my food and never complains :)

People do wonder the same thing about us though... great job on the tofu!

Dawn said...

You go converting your co-worker to a tofu lover!

Kelly said...

I would have probably handled the situation with the co-worker much less sweetly than it sounds like you did. Probably best you work with that coworker and not me. There are so many things wrong with those thoughts as you have highlighted.

Joanne said...

So you've broken the husband in I see...

He's the kind of guy that I need to find. Someone who won't ever insult my masterpieces.

I love using tofu after it's been frozen...and I love cilantro!